CALGARY, AB -- Boasting one of the best tandems in Martin Brodeur and Corey Schneider, goaltending should be the backbone of the New Jersey Devils in 2013-14. But goaltending alone won’t be enough to push the Devils back into the playoffs.
Rebound years from several forwards, including Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique, are essential after the departure of Ilya Kovalchuk to Russia and the loss of David Clarkson via free agency. The team hopes free agent signings Ryane Clowe and Jaromir Jagr can fill the void up front.
Unfortunately, the Devils haven’t found much success in October. The club is looking for their first win of the season and is 0-1-3 through four games.
Last season: 19-19-10, 48 points (11th in East)
Notable Additions: LW Ryane Clowe, RW Jaromir Jagr, LW Rostislav Olesz, RW Michael Ryder, G Cory Schneider
Notable Subtractions: RW Matt Anderson, RW David Clarkson, D Matthew Corrente, RW Matt D'Agostini, G Johan Hedberg, RW Tom Kostopoulos, RW Ilya Kovalchuk, LW Alexei Ponikarovsky, LW Steve Sullivan, D Henrik Tallinder
Flames Season Series Record: 0-0-0
Joining the Devils on a camp try-out, Brunner earned a two-year, $5 million contract and has made good on it so far. The Zurich, SUI product leads New Jersey in goals with three and has a share of the team lead in points at four. The only downside in Brunner’s game thus far is that he’s a minus-3 on the season.
Signing a five-year contract worth $24.25 million in the offseason, Clowe has underperformed and underwhelmed in his brief start in New Jersey. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Clowe has just one assist through his first four games and is tied for a team-worst minus-4.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
In what could be his last appearance at Scotiabank Saddledome, Brodeur is expected to start. He will look to improve upon his previous start in Calgary, when he stopped just three of five shots in a little over seven minutes of action. The surefire hall-of-famer has a 3.23 goals against average and .868 save percentage in two starts this season.
Signed as an unrestricted free agent by the Devils this offseason, Jagr has delivered early in his Devils career. The surefire hall-of-famer has two goals and three points this season and is just seven behind former teammate Mario Lemieux for ninth on the all-time list.
Though Larsson was a healthy scratch last Friday, the 20-year-old has played in New Jersey’s previous two games and is worth keeping an eye on. The fourth overall pick from 2011 still has the potential to be one of the league’s best defencemen down the road.